Guide to Building a Human Fighter: DnD 5e

To make a skilled human fighter with sword moves, consider this build:

Often, this character build is used as a first time D&D character.  You’re getting your feet in the water, maybe wanting to play a character you can relate to—a non-magic guy with a sword in a weird and dangerous world.  In a way, it’s the most traditional fantasy trop—a knight on a mystical adventure.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be an awesome character to play.

For this build, I chose to create a knight with sick sword moves.  You know, because sword fighters are awesome.  If you’d like to check out what he can do in a premade pirate adventure campaign, check out my original Dead Man’s Tale.  Click here or below for more info.

Deadman's Tale an Island Pirate Adventure DnD 5e friendly 3rd party campaign

Choose the variant human traits

Normally, humans get the benefit of a +1 bonus to all ability scores.  They really don’t have special abilities or inherent magic like other races.  I guess this is because it is most often used by beginner players trying out the game.  A human character can bridge the gap and bring the player into the game.

There is, however, a variant on this unique racial trait.  This variant builds a human more like the other races, with bonuses to 2 ability scores, a skill proficiency and a special feat.

Feats are listed in the official D&D Player’s Guide, including an assortment of special abilities to choose from.  Like the other, inherently magical, races, the humans can gain an interesting feature with whatever feat is chosen.  This variant form of human just might be the most customizable in that regard.

Choose Martial Adept feat

Starting the game with a feat is awesome.  As a fighter, I want an edge to play my role better, and the Martial Adept offers that opportunity.  This is my first step toward mastering the sword with special fighting techniques.

Martial Adept gives me 2 maneuvers off the battle master list.  The player is given 1 superiority die to roll this maneuver, so choosing wisely is crucial.  I want something defensive and technical, giving me survivability in those fragile early levels.  With this in mind, I’m choosing Parry and Riposte.

Parry can be triggered after an enemy attack.  On a successful hit, I’ll roll my superiority die (1d8) + Dex modifier to counteract my opponent’s damage roll.  So, whatever the enemy rolls, I subtract my roll from that number.  Every sword-fighting specialist should know this basic technique.  I’m a duelist, a weapon master, not a shield tank.

Riposte plays on the same concept of defensive maneuvers but acts as a counterattack.  Whenever an opponent misses an attack on my fighter, I can use my reaction to roll an attack.  On a successful hit, I’ll add the superiority die (1d8) to my damage roll.  This will give me the opportunity to take out an opponent before he can have another attack turn.  Oh, and this adds extra damage to beefier enemies.  A bonus attack between turns could make the difference in a close fight.

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Utilize fighter abilities and duelist fighting style

Now that we’re rocking a couple of sweet sword moves, let’s take a look at what else the fighter class has to offer.

When creating a fighter, we pick a fighting style, a specialty with bonuses attached.  Naturally, my fighter will use Dueling fighting style.  This grants me a +2 bonus to damage rolls when I wield a one-handed weapon.  In other words, if I fight without a shield, I get extra damage out of my weapon.

This choice is why I picked Parry as an early battle maneuver.  Plus, I like the theatrics of this fighting style.

Second Wind will also come in handy.  On my turn, I can use a bonus action and regain 1d10 + fighter level hit points.  As an all-out attacker, this will cover my tail at least a little bit.  I only get 1 per rest, so I’ll have to save it for sketchy situations.  I’m not too worried, I plan on wearing heavy chainmail.  I’m here for the chaos of it all.

Action Surge comes at level 2, effectively giving me an extra attack or movement in a pinch.  Again, I get one per rest, but it’s  a great bonus at an early level.  My plan is to play this class with a devil-may-care attitude.  Sure, I’ll consider my actions, but my philosophy is all-out offence.  Action Surge vibes with this philosophy.

Take the Battle Master archetype.

At level 3, our fighter takes an archetype.  For my expert swordsman theme, I’m choosing battle master.

Now, I can choose 3 more maneuvers with my sword and have 4 superiority dice to roll them. On top of this, I gain proficiency with 1 type of artisan’s tools.  That’s a nifty bonus.  Oh, and now I have 5 maneuvers with 5 superiority dice total to play with.

Anyway, BATTLE MANEUVERS.

Now that I’m covered with tactical defensive moves, I’ll branch out into some interesting offensive techniques.  I’m thinking Feinting Attack, Disarming Attack and Sweeping Attack.

Feinting Attack allows me to spend a superiority die and take a bonus action to feint.  The effect gives me advantage on my next attack roll.  Plus, I get to add the extra d8 to my damage roll.  This will look like: 1d8 (sword) + 3 (Str Mod) + 2 (Duelist) +1d8 (superiority die).

Disarming Attack is exactly like it sounds.  When I hit an opponent, I get to add the extra 1d8 damage.  Then, they are forced to make a Strength saving check.  On a fail, they lose their weapon.  Sure, this is super technical, and monsters won’t always have weapons, but it’s so cool to pull off.

Sweeping Attack is my multi opponent damage dealer.  When I hit a creature, I can expend a superiority die and add damage another enemy with that roll.  Anyone within 5 feet of my initial target is able to be hit.  Of course, it only hits if the original attack roll would beat the second opponent’s armor class.

To Sum It Up

I wanted to take something super typical and find something cool.  I think the bonus feature humans receive early on set this guy up for a cool build.

The ability to use 5 different maneuvers with bonus damage and aftereffects is going to make this character fun to play.

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